Date Responded 03 April 2020

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

  1. For the calendar year 2019 how many 'rape kit' examinations were carried out during investigations by this constabulary?
  2. What number and percentage of these 'kits' were sent for forensic analysis?
  3. The results from what number and what percentage of these 'kits' (overall) were submitted to the CPS?
  4. The results from what number and what percentage of these 'kits' (if they produced evidence that could be indicative of a serious sexual assault) were submitted to the CPS?

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Safeguarding Department of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held, in part, by Northumbria Police, however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.

With regards to the whole of your request we hold no information specific to your request as Northumbria Police do not use ‘rape kits’.  We do use “early evidence kits” – however their use is not recorded centrally, statistically or in an easily retrievable extraction format.

To establish a response regards to “early evidence kits” would require approximately 1,600 reports to be located and manually reviewed to establish which met the criteria specified by your request above.  Even at a conservative estimate of 1 hour per record, which we have considered as reasonable, we have estimated that to extract this information would take over 1,600 hours, therefore Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act would apply.  This section does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimated that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit of 18 hours, equating to £450.00.

You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for your request.

When applying Section 12 exemption our duty to assist under Section 16 of the Act would normally entail that we contact you to determine whether it is possible to refine the scope of your request to bring it within the cost limits.  However, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so.

It should also be noted that we do not hold information with regards to percentages as these are not recorded and we not obliged to create new information under the act in order to provide a response to an FOI a request.

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